With a hundred deadlines, meetings and planning for the next few weeks, work days can become overwhelmingly busy. We may desire to take a few breaks here and there, but the continuous list of tasks in our head that need to be accomplished can make it difficult to take our eyes off the computer screen.
Sometimes, too many things going on can also lead to a critical lack of communication amongst a team. It is easy to become consumed with our own projects and goals, but interacting with those in your office and team (even if they are across the globe) should not be a lost art.
With all the technology available to us, there really is no reason why workplaces should suffer productivity from a lack of communication. Team communication is essential, whether maintaining an account, launching a new product or signing a new client. An unorganized team looks unprofessional and their credibility is quickly questioned.
Aside from a client standpoint, communicating with your team will help you learn from those you work with and allow you to grow professionally. With unique personalities and backgrounds, learning in the workplace does not have to be solely based on seniority.
What can you do to ensure your team is constantly communicating?
The first thing you should do is think about how you communicate and report work. When you delegate tasks, is everyone clear on their work and priorities? Are you spelling out what needs to be done so that everyone is on the same page? How you communicate with you team will set the pace for office communication.
When you set a certain pace and standard for communication, others will follow suit. Some overarching messages and points of focus can be what are the work priorities, what happened last, what is the focus for this week and are there any new priorities that will be foreseen as interruptions in the near future. Using these pillars as communication standards will help your team and other departments in the company stay on the same page.
The next is to allow people to show what new priorities have come up and what should be moved out. As a project’s focus changes based on a review or meeting, how do you communicate all the new dimensions to your team? Do you simply send them the meeting notes or will you draft a new key messaging doc that explains where the work should be heading? Discuss the new direction and allow it to change the priorities of other work.
The simplest, yet most overlooked aspect of working with teams and technology is failing to carbon copy those on regular e-mails. Create transparency at the workplace by copying everyone necessary to e-mails — even if you feel they will be affected in only the slightest way. This may sound obnoxious as we already have a ton of unwanted e-mails clogging our inboxes, but knowing too much about the team or account is far better than being caught off-guard in an important meeting. It is much easier to quickly skim an email and delete it rather than attempt to get caught up days later.
Establishing an online portal that allows employees to communicate and share their focus for this week and next is also important. While they may be too busy to get up from their desk and hang out at the water cooler on certain days, taking a few seconds to update their status on the company’s internal messaging system is also an option. Whether they take a few minutes to chat with a team member in another city or update everyone on their project status, having an online portal to communicate increases transparency. Employees will appreciate the flexibility while having the freedom to communicate as they see fit.
Have these methods worked for you in trying to encourage communication among your team?